Would you say that you fight fair when you are in an argument or in the midst of a disagreement with your spouse?
Excerpted from the book, The Love Dare by Stephen and Alex Kendrick…
The wisest way is to learn to fight clean by establishing healthy rules of engagement. If you don’t have guidelines for how you’ll approach hot topics, you won’t stay in bounds when the action heats up.
Basically there are two types of boundaries for dealing with conflict: “we” boundaries and “me” boundaries.
“We” boundaries are rules you both agree on beforehand, rules that apply during any fight or altercation. And each of you has the right to gently but directly enforce them if these rules are violated. These could include:
- We will never mention divorce.
- We will not bring up old, unrelated items from the past.
- We will never fight in public or in front of our children.
- We will call a “time out” if conflict escalates to a damaging level.
- We will never touch one another in a harmful way.
- We will never go to bed angry with one another.
- Failure is not an option. Whatever it takes, we will work this out.
“Me” boundaries are rules you personally practice on your own. Here are some of the most effective examples:
- I will listen first before speaking. “Everyone must be quick to hear, slow to speak and slow to anger” (James 1:19).
- I will deal with my own issues up-front. “Why do you look at the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye?” (Matthew 7:3)
- I will speak gently and keep my voice down. “A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger” (Proverbs 15:1).
Fighting fair means changing your weapons. Disagreeing with dignity. It should result in building a bridge instead of burning one down. Remember, love is not a fight, but it is always worth fighting for.
Talk with your spouse about establishing healthy rules of engagement. If your mate is not ready for this, then write out your own personal rules to “fight” by. Resolve to abide by them when the next disagreement occurs.
At the end of the day, answer these questions:
1. If your spouse participated with you, what was their response?
2. What rules did you write for yourself?
Congratulations! You have completed Day 13! Tomorrow’s dare is Love Takes Delight.